Each year schools across the country organize a Walk to School Day to promote physical activity, identify areas in the community that need safety improvements and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
As a youngster, Okech walked five miles each way to get to his school in Kenya. Before Wednesday, Okech's daughters didn't walk to school often, though they live less than a mile from Timothy Road Elementary.
"Walking's good, but I find we're becoming more Americanized now because we're like, 'Oh, it's a short distance. well, let's jump in the car and drive,' " Okech said. "It's not good."
This year, the Timothy PTA - led by Heesacker - created a Safe Routes to School committee to organize monthly walks to school to ease more students and parents into the practice, while advocating for more crosswalks and crosswalk lights to make the trip safer. The first came Wednesday, but others are scheduled every month through April.
And tonight, the Clarke County Board of Education plans to approve a seven-school Safe Routes to School plan that asks the Athens-Clarke government for more crosswalks and signs, caution lights and sidewalks.
The county received $110,000 from the state Department of Education to fund part of one project envisioned in the school district plan - improving the Five Points intersection to benefit Barrow Elementary School students.
The intersection work - including raised crosswalks, countdown pedestrian lights and flashing signs that display cars' speeds - won't get started for another 15 months, according to David Clark, county transportation and public works director.
News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.